"J.Lambercier" & Cie Lathe
With only two known examples, the history behind the bench precision lathe badged as though made by the machine-tool dealer J.Lambercier & Cie of Geneve, Switzerland, is presently unknown. However, typical of its type dating from the original American Stark of around 1862 (those from many other makers are listed here), the lathe would have had a centre height of around 100 mm and a capacity between centres of perhaps 500 mm. The usual type of flat-topped, bevelled-edged bed was used, this carrying a compound slide rest fitted with the obligatory long-travel top slide and, dating the lathe to at least the early 20th century, small micrometer dials.
With a full-length T-slot along the front face of the bed, the lathe was designed to accept a screwcutting conversion of the usual kind, i.e. changewheels driving through a universally-jointed and splined (Carden) shaft to the long-travel top slide. Happily, the screwcutting attachment for the lathe shown has been found - though it appears to have either been modified in some way or, possibly, adapted from another make of lathe. However, with the lathe was a paper copy of the English and metric screwcutting chart labelled The "Geneva" Lathe - the use of parenthesis around "Geneva" lending some weight to the idea that the real maker is unknown - and that J.Lambercier were, perhaps, machine-tool traders. The other known example of the lathe, which the owner says is in little-used condition and capable of turning to within 0.0001", appears to have been built in 1932 and owned for many decades by instrument maker who treated it with extraordinary care. It has survived with a large number of changewheels including 100t and 127t for metric screwcutting and a further set of gears to generate B.A. (British Association) pitches. Also with this machine is a wonderful range of the maker's accessories, all engraved J.Lambercier, these including a draw-in collet set from 0.5 mm to 15 mm, draw-in ring collets, bell chucks, two 3-jaw chucks, a 4-jaw independent chuck, tailstock chuck, dividing head attachment with two dividing plates, a horizontal/adjustable milling/drilling attachment for off-set drilling and milling, a circular-saw table attachment, a vertical milling cutter attachment, a vertical milling slide, tool rests for filing, a complete set of original tools (spanners and keys etc) and a number of cranked and sprung turning tools (supplied with the lathe) all of which are in good condition and stamped J.Lambercier.
Like the Swiss Breguet Freres & Cie precision bench lathe (which used the same design of rectangular bed foot) the Lambercier was equipped with a wider-than-usual flat-belt cone pulley on the headstock - and so obviously intended for heavier-than-normal work.
Another example of an early and little-known Swiss precision lathe is the Breguet Frères & Cie, this, like the J.Lambercier having a murky past and perhaps even being a badge-engineered American Waltham.
With the example of the Lambercier shown below resident in England, it would be interesting to know if any further "J.Lambercier" lathes survive..